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FAQs about Discussions

Who can attend a Discussion?

Statutes and Ordinances outlines exactly who can attend a Discussion:

(a) members of the Regent House;
(b) members of the Senate;
(c) members of Faculties [and other Cambridge Departments/Institutions];
(d) registered students and sabbatical officers of the Cambridge University Students' Union and the Graduate Union;
(e) University of Cambridge graduates who are not members of the Senate; and
(f) other persons who are authorised by the Vice-Chancellor to attend a particular Discussion.

If you are in category (f) and the Notice of Discussion doesn't explicitly state that you may attend, you should make a request to attend via the Vice-Chancellor's office.

What do I do if I want to speak at a Discussion?

Please see the 'How to..' section of the Discussions pages.

How do I know when a Discussion is due to take place?

Roughly two weeks before a Discussion is scheduled to take place, a Notice is published in the Reporter listing the titles of the Reports and/or topics of concern up for Discussion.

I made remarks at a Discussion but the Council hasn’t responded – are they required to do so?

The Council usually responds to remarks made at a Discussion with a Notice in the Reporter, although they are not obliged to do so. The Notice in response to remarks made at a Discussion may be very short, simply stating that the Council has noted the comments made, and is submitting a Grace to the Regent House for the approval of the recommendations of the Report. If lots of remarks have been made about a Report, the Council's response will usually address some of the concerns raised, clarify any areas in the original Report which may have been misunderstood, or provide greater detail on a particular point. The Notices in response to Discussion remarks do not usually refer to each speaker by name or go through each comment point by point, but are a more general response to the types of concerns which have been raised. If the Council feels it is appropriate, the Notice may also announce that they are submitting a Grace approving the recommendations of the Reports, subject to a ballot.

Why are Discussions sometimes cancelled?

Discussions are generally timetabled to be held every two weeks during Full Term. If there are no Reports ready to be discussed at a particular Discussion, it will be cancelled; notices of cancellation will be published in the Reporter the week before the Discussion was due to take place.

How do I listen to a Discussion recording?

Discussions in which remarks are made are audio recorded by the Reporter Editor and uploaded to the University's streaming media service as a raven-protected file as soon as possible after the Discussion. A list of audio files is available to University members alongside a list of the published Discussion Reports on the 'Discussion dates and remarks' page of this site.

Contributors who do not wish their remarks to be included in the audio file should notify the Reporter Editor at the Discussion, or as soon as possible thereafter. As with the published version, remarks considered irrelevant or defamatory will be omitted.

I want to make some remarks at a Discussion but can’t attend in person, what do I do?

If you have some remarks you would like to be read out at a Discussion but you cannot attend in person, you should email the Proctors (email contact@proctors.cam.ac.uk), the University Draftsman (email Ceri.Benton@admin.cam.ac.uk) and the Reporter Editor (Reporter.Editor@admin.cam.ac.uk) with a copy of the remarks you would like to be read out and requesting that they be read out on your behalf; usually, one of the Proctors (who will be in attendance at the Discussion) will then read these comments out on your behalf. Alternatively, if you cannot attend in person, you can arrange for another colleague to read the remarks for you; s/he should make it clear at the beginning of the speech that they are reading out the comments on your behalf.

I made some remarks at a Discussion, what happens next?

If you have not already done so before the Discussion, you should send an electronic copy of your remarks (if you have one), to the Reporter Editor at reporter.editor@admin.cam.ac.uk as soon as possible. The Reporter Editor will then check your written remarks against the audio recording of the Discussion to ensure that what is published corresponds exactly to what was said, make any minor editorial changes necessary to comply with Reporter style, and then send you back a pdf of your comments as a proof of what will be published in the Reporter the following week. The proof of your remarks will usually be sent to you on the Thursday or Friday after the Discussion; any amendments which you would like to be made to the proof should be sent back to the Reporter Editor by 10 a.m. the following Tuesday. The full transcript of the Discussion remarks made by everyone at the Discussion will then be published in the Reporter that Wednesday (i.e. eight days after the Discussion took place). The audio recording of the Discussion will also be uploaded onto the University's streaming media service website and on this site, usually on the day after the Discussion.

Some of the remarks I made weren’t published in the Reporter. Why?

Any remarks which are ruled out of order by the Vice-Chancellor or other person presiding at a Discussion, or which breach a procedural ruling, will not form part of the Discussion and will not therefore be published in the Reporter.

I arrived late to the Discussion and couldn’t get in/missed the item I wanted to comment on. Can I still arrange for my remarks to be published  in the Reporter?

The Report of Dicussion which is published in the Reporter is a transcript of exactly what was said at the Discussion. Therefore if you didn't speak at a Discussion, your remarks cannot be published.